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New Video Network Will Help Adult Students Earn Degrees

Photo: Students participate in a VLN class at Penn State DuBois.
Photo: Students participate in a VLN class at Penn State DuBois.
2/15/2011 —

DuBois – Beginning in March, Penn State DuBois will offer video-based courses for professionals in healthcare, business and manufacturing as part of Penn State's university-wide Video Learning Network (VLN).  The network will allow students to take classes taught by instructors at various locations, at a convenient site close to home.


"It will help us maximize limited faculty and facilities resources to bring credit programs currently offered in some areas to more areas of the state using broadcasting technologies," said VLN Associate Director Annette Fetterolf. 


Fetterolf explained that the VLN is tailored specifically to the needs of adult learners, who already have a full schedule due to professional and personal responsibilities.  She noted that nearly two million Pennsylvanians have some college credits, but no degree, and the VLN aims to help some of these adults complete their degree.


Courses are held in the evenings and on weekends in an accelerated seven-week format in classrooms equipped with identical high-definition video conferencing technologies, Fetterolf explained. Faculty and students in up to four locations can participate in the same course. Initially, Penn State is offering courses leading to professional certificates. When the network is completed, degree programs will be offered.


Faculty teaching in a VLN classroom use computer touch screens to see and talk with students at multiple locations in real time. Dual cameras enable students to see the instructor and educational materials simultaneously. Students also have push-to-talk microphones for communicating with the instructor and other students.


This spring, 14 courses are under way through the VLN. Currently, 11 sites have been equipped with high-tech classrooms: Penn State Berks, DuBois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Mont Alto, New Kensington, University Park, and York and the Learning Center in Lewistown.


Course offered at Penn State DuBois for health care professionals through the VLN include Health Planning Administration, which examines social, political, historic, and scientific factors in the development of health services. Also to be offered at DuBois is Organization and Administration for the Nurse Manager, which is an introduction to organizational theory and principles of practice in the administration of nursing services and patient care. RNs who need ACT 58 hours to maintain their licenses can earn 15 contact hours. 


For people working in business fields, the VLN will offer the Lean-Sigma for Professionals course at Penn State DuBois.  This course introduces students to methods for improving performance and efficiency in a business environment. 


All VLN courses begin in March.  For more information, or to register, contact Diana Ricotta at Penn State DuBois Continuing Education at (814) 375-4718, or dricotta@psu.edu

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